The other day, I was thinking a little about Israel on the world stage. Revisit a few events with me: In 2002, an Israeli and a Pakistani competed at Wimbledon as doubles partners. The Pakistani sports board threatened to ban the Pakistani. (The Israelis were thrilled with the partnership, of course — honestly thrilled.) In 2009, Israel played a Davis Cup match in Malmö, Sweden, to an empty stadium — because of threats against the Israelis. Also in 2009, the Jerusalem Quartet could not proceed at London’s Wigmore Hall, because people in the audience shouted them down. The same thing happened last year when the Israel Philharmonic played, or tried to play, the BBC Proms.
Now to the Olympics: Lebanon’s judo team refused to practice alongside the Israeli team, or at least within sight of the Israelis: The Lebanese demanded that a curtain be placed between the two teams. How’s that for the Olympic spirit? (Mark Steyn referred to this as “taking the Jew out of judo.”)
The world is determined to make Israel a pariah and demon. In the past, this sort of treatment — can we say it? — has been prelude to physical assault. Decent nations, including ours, should do everything in their power to resist and condemn the demonization of the Jewish state.
P.S. You may wish to know that the Israel Phil. played at the Salzburg Festival a couple of weeks ago without incident. Imagine, the Israel Phil. being accorded a warmer reception in Salzburg than in London! Who would have guessed that, back when?